COLUMBIA, S.C. – David Williams had no answer for Will Muschamp early in preseason camp when the South Carolina coach asked him what he had accomplished in his career.
Muschamp was visibly frustrated when he discussed that conversation in early August.
The first-year coach felt much differently about a conversation with his running back leading into Saturday’s game against East Carolina.
“David and I had a good talk this week about the things he needed to continue to improve on,” Muschamp said. “Just consistency in his performance every day.”
Williams did not play against Mississippi State last Saturday. He got the start in South Carolina’s 20-15 win against East Carolina because of a winded A.J. Turner heading to the sideline after his 80-yard return of the opening kickoff.
The junior from Philadelphia was on the field again for the following drive and he broke out for a 20-yard run to the ECU 10. The Gamecocks would score one player later to take a 14-0 lead.
“I feel like I had a chip on my shoulder,” Williams said. “I wasn’t living up to the coaches’ expectations in the game last week. I just used that as motivation.”
Williams led the Gamecocks with 67 yards rushing on seven attempts against ECU. He also made a diving 16-yard catch to convert a key third down. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Williams accounted for four of the Gamecocks’ nine explosive plays on offense, Muschamp said Sunday night.
His biggest play was his last. The Gamecocks sought to end the game by converting a fourth-and-1 at the ECU 40. Williams did so when he took a pitch from Brandon McIlwain and broke outside for 25 yards.
“Give David credit,” Muschamp said. “It takes a mature young man to respond. He responded the right way.”